Carol Brady, Marian Cunningham, Claire Huxtable…for decades, TV moms have been the standard by which real moms judge themselves.
How do these moms make it look so easy? Their homes are always clean, their kids are well behaved (except for some occasional hilarious TV hi-jinks) and they’re able to solve all family problems within 30 minutes, including two commercial breaks!
Reality, of course, is a different story. For most working moms, our lives are not the stuff of an entertaining TV sitcom. We can’t juggle work, home and family and still look fabulous, without a hair out of place. Unfortunately, being a real working mom (whether it’s inside or outside the home) isn’t always pretty.
But that’s okay…perfection is highly overrated and television writers are finally getting that message. There have been more “real” moms on TV in recent years. I’ve listed a few of my favorites (in no particular order):
- Debra Barone of Everybody Loves Raymond – She’s an overworked, stressed out and frequently unappreciated stay-at-home mom. Even worse is her mother-in-law, who is enough to drive anyone to the brink of insanity. But Debra is able to keep it all in perspective with humor and intelligence.
- Claire Dunphy of Modern Family – She’s a bit high-strung, but Type-A moms everywhere can identify with the way Claire handles her family obligations and still finds time to volunteer at school and run for public office (too bad she lost the election!)
- Kitty Forman of That 70s Show – She’s the yin to Red Forman’s yang. On the surface, Kitty seems like a typical 70s housewife, but she’s got a modern edge and the best laugh on television!
- Pam Halpert of The Office – She’s a great example of a working mom who juggles her family life with her job (and crazy co-workers). I’m not sure if working with her husband is a great plan for a successful marriage, but at least they see each other for more than a few minutes each day.
- Marge Simpson of The Simpsons – Marge puts up with Homer and Bart. Enough said.
Do we truly want to see more “real” moms on TV? Does anyone want to watch TV moms tackling the reality of work/life balance…taking care of sick kids, dealing with work deadlines, paying bills, cleaning, cooking and handling the daily minutiae that can take over our lives? Probably not – after all, television is escapism. Personally, I’d rather leave my day behind and watch Claire on Modern Family campaign for a stop sign in her neighborhood or Pam on The Office plan a date night with Jim that goes terribly wrong. It’s even better if I watch these TV shows with my husband and kids and we all share a laugh.
Now if I could just solve all of my family’s problems in 30 minutes!
One last word:
This post was inspired by my classmate Katie Maule’s blog, On Screen Me. Check it out at: http://www.onscreenme.blogspot.com